Greenberg sees his own party as having fallen short in addressing many of the economic and other conditions that have soured so many people on a political system that they feel has ignored their interests in favor of the privileged or the elites.

He argues that, unless Democrats find a way to break through the disaffection and indifference and deal with the structural economic issues, their ability to energize enough support to command a true governing majority will continue to escape them. As he writes, “The rising American electorate could be the Democrats’ salvation — but that electorate first has to be engaged and motivated to vote.”…

The huge losses suffered by Democrats in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, which have put Republicans in control of the House and the Senate and expanded their hold on a majority of the governorships, point to the standoff between the parties as the country weathers transformational changes akin to those of the Industrial Revolution.

Greenberg still sees a much brighter future for the Democrats than for the Republicans. But he acknowledged that he turned out to have been overly bullish about his party’s prospects in 2014. “We made assumptions that 2010 was atypical,” he said. “I didn’t think ’14 would be as bad as ’10. I didn’t think this new majority would be as disengaged as it was in ’14.”